Kathleen A. Gormley https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0073-8817
Peter McDermott https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9541-5468
This study generated from our interest in learning about social justice events in the lives of teacher candidates in our programs of study. In many schools of education, including our own, social justice is a concept that is integrated into the curriculums, yet there is wide variation as to how this is actually done. A unique aspect of this study was that more than half of the candidates were matriculated in an alternate teacher education program where the majority of candidates are people of color. Using narrative analysis, we examine 48 written narratives composed by teacher candidates about events relating to social justice in their lives. Results indicated that candidates’ narratives clustered into two themes and six categories: The themes consisted of stories about self or family members and to other stories about people in their communities. The categories pertained to racism, bullying, sexuality/gender identity, homelessness/elderly and social violence, with the stories about racism as being the most frequently described. Our findings are discussed in light of the importance of understanding the life experiences of today’s teacher candidates, especially when there is greater diversity in their color and ethnicities than previous generations of teachers. These social justice stories offered us the opportunity to learn about the saliency and the emotional effects of social justice events in our teacher candidates’ lives, and we suggest ways our programs might be improved to better prepare future candidates for teaching in today’s racially and culturally diverse schools.
Gormley, K. A., & McDermott, P. (2023). Stories that matter: An analysis of teacher candidates’ compositions about social justice events in their lives. Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning, 15(2), 115-127. CCBY.